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Enchantment 2011

Day 10, Saturday, May 28, 2011, Disembark and home

I set the alarm this time for 4:45, and was up on deck about 5. By that time we had already passed the William Preston Lane (Bay) bridge, about 15 miles from the port. I walked about 3 miles on deck 10, finishing just after 6 as the sun rose over Sparrows Point and we passed under the Francis Scott Bridge. We docked at 6:30 and Captain Gus gave his “Welcome to Baltimore” message at 7. His final words of wisdom were “Don’t think outside the box, think with no box”.

I was scheduled for departure from Boleros between 8:45 and 9, and returned to my cabin for the last time after breakfast near 8.

I have been using Firefox as my browser of choice, and found it a little awkward when working with the ship’s internet and had an unfortunate final encounter. Although the logout screens were showing I had 2 hours left of my 500 purchased internet minutes, my final bill charged me at the per-minute rate for my last 2 days of use. A visit to guest relations was able to rectify that situation.

We actually left Boleros just past 9, and my transfer to BWI airport left the port about 10. My final link was mycounty’s transit system which left BWI at 11 and got me to my door just after 12. The afternoon was quite busy with mail pickup and grocery shopping for my several weeks coping with the real world.

For my final parting shot, the cruise ended much as it started. We approached and sailed past Fort McHenry, home of our National Anthem by “The Dawn’s Early Light”. While this National Treasure is not tall like the statue of Liberty, it is still a privilege to in some way trace the footsteps of Francis Scott Key.

Roy

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Francis Scott Key Bridge

Fort McHenry National Monument, Birthplace of National Anthem

Day 9, Friday, May 27, 2011, At Sea, Casual

It was another pleasant but cloudy morning, and I finished a good walk about 7:15, off the North Carolina coast. After returning to my cabin for Carly and Paul’s final morning show I went up to the My Fair Lady dining room for breakfast.

At 10 we had a cake decorating challenge between Captain Gus and the Hotel Manager, and the head pastry chef in Centrum. Things started well with all 3 expertly slicing the cake into 3 layers, but then the differences came out. The pastry chef did a fantastic job at each step, creating a truly superb Black Forest Cake. The Hotel Manager was a step behind creating a truly professional end product but sometimes having to redo some imperfections. Captain Gus went wild, starting with a “thin coating” of sherry that became a thick soaking, using 2/3 of the bottle, then enormous gobs of whipped cream and cherries and chocolates thrown helter skelter on the creation. At each step the Captain got the most applause, but in the end Cruise Director Carly (on pretty even final voting) awarded the title to the pastry chef. The 2 losers responded by putting messy whipped cream “stripes” on Carly’s shoulders. The Master is in charge of everything but it is a good thing they leave some things to the experts in their fields. At 11 we had a backstage tour in the Orpheum Theater, an excellent opportunity to understand all the complexity that goes into putting on the wonderful stage shows.

For lunch today I went for pizza in the Solarium and spent much of the afternoon with the sad task of packing.

Our final dinner in the My Fair Lady dining room was a bit of a sad affair. I enjoyed a tasty Strawberry Bisque, Chicken Marsela, and Tiramisu, and then we all said goodbye to our dining staff.

The evening Farewell Show had several parts. Starting with a video of highlights of the cruise, we next went to a performance by “Gotta Dance”, a group modeled after the senior cheerleader program of an NFL team. The main attraction was the comedy of Michael Ester, and the program concluded with a number by the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers. The singers also performed a jazz Cabaret in Boleros.

Today’s parting shot is a followup to yesterday’s. People more knowledgeable than me about RCI say their next class of ships will be able to make the trip to Baltimore, very good news. I think with regard to cities like Montreal and I’m sure many others, the growing size of cruise ships will still have some unfortunate implications.

Roy

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Day 8, Thursday, May 26, 2011, At Sea, Formal

The first of 2 days at sea was blessed with rather nice weather. When I first went up to deck 10 their seemed to be quite a brisk wind on my back walking towards the stern, but surprisingly it the wind was not bad on the return towards the bow. The overall wind is about the same as it was headed south but it is now a tailwind. During the walk there was a pleasant if not spectacular sunrise and there was a respite from the heat we had further South. I spent the rest of the morning on internet, reading, and generally catching up on things. In his noon address Captain Gus reported we are exceeding the progress needed for our on time arrival.

I had lunch today in the My Fair Lady Dining Room I was seated at a large table with a wide variety of people, including a young Air Force couple, and had an excellent Chicken Caesar Salad. In mid-afternoon we had an event called “Captain’s Corner”. The Captain, Hotel Manager, and Chief Engineer assembled on the Orpheum Theater for a Question and Answer session, with Cruise Director Carly Boileau mostly taking a mike to the questioners but also fielding a few queries. The session lasted just over an hour with all sorts of questions. Captain Gus said this is his first appointment as master and he is 7 weeks into a 10-week contract. Carly reported being anchored off Maui with most guests ashore and a sudden Tsunami warning. She was assigned to go ashore and herd the guests to a Walmart on high ground while the ship moved to a safe location, although the warning was lifted before the plan became necessary.

It was our second Formal night of the cruise. Many of the guests seemed to be dressed well below the guidelines, although the general level of attire was rather nice. The evening show was The Unexpected Boys vocal quartet producing a show based on the music of the Four Seasons.

Today’s parting shot comes from the Captain’s Corner discussion. The Enchantment is in the only class of ships capable of passing under the bridges leading to Baltimore. Although these cruises sell very well, it is unclear what will happen when the Enchantment, Carnival Pride, and their sister ships are retired. Other ports like Montreal are facing similar restrictions. When these ships are retired in a few years there are no clear replacements. If the trend towards bigger and taller ships continues, tomorrow’s cruising grounds may become much more restricted.

Roy

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Day 7, Wednesday, May 25, 2011, Labadee, Haiti

The day started and stayed overcast and I rarely saw the sun, but thankfully there was little or no rain, although there apparently was heavy rain overnight. Somehow, I had the impression that Labadee was a tender port, so I was delighted when Captain Gus indicated yesterday that we would be docking. We pulled into the dock about 6:45 and Captain Gus announced we could go ashore about 7:15. His words of wisdom today with a suggestion to keep them in mind when we talk to the vendors at the resort: “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese”.

Labadee is on the North shore of Hati (by Lamy’s pointer), about 85 miles from Port au Prince. It sits on the island of Hispanola, but the private enclave has little access to the rest of the island. The village of Labadee is about 3 miles across the bay; the resort is on former farmland leased by RCI about 25 years ago. There are several beaches (both open and sheltered, coasters, ziplines, water activities, and a space where a number of local vendors exhibit their wares.

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I had a tour this morning, “Labadee Historic Walking Tour”. There are very few actual historic places in the resort, but as our guide Lamy took us around the property he spoke on the history of Hati from the first peoples to the arrival of Columbus in 1492, the colonial times, and up to the present. Hati shares the island of Hispanola with the Dominican Republic, with the 2 countries devided by rivers. Mostly a French Colony, Hati secured it’s independence in 1804, making it the second independent country in the Western hemisphere. We did visit one spot with some history, Nelli’s tower, the ruins of an ancient Bucaneer fortress.

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Lamy also shared a bit about the Hatian education system. School starts at age 3 with 3 years of kindergarten, followed by 7 years of primary school. Secondary school is also 7 years, but all secondary schools are private and out of reach of most Hatians. University is 4 years for those who are able to go. After the tour I explored the resort some more and took a brief swim in Columbus Cove.

There are several pavilions around the resort where the ships staff prepared a barbecue lunch to be enjoyed in the great outdoors, and I finished off the afternoon on a deck chair on the beach finishing off “Why Geography matters”. I returned to the ship around 2:30 and spent some time in the hot tub and at afternoon tea. We pulled away from Labadee just before 4, and not all that remains is the long (but not long enough) return to Baltimore.

My table in the My Fair Lady dining room is on the port side. With us now heading North, the sun set today as we were finishing desert. After a cloudy day, it had cleared just enough so the sunset was spectacular.

The evening entertainment was puppeteer David Morgan and Chucky. There was also a Big Band performance by the orchestra so I stayed up a little past it’s 11PM start.

My parting shot today is ship’s security. We have had to go through quite sensitive metal detectors and have our belongs exrayed in detail at each port. Labadee is a closed environment with everything that comes in under RCI control. Lamy confirmed that we are not permitted to leave the complex. There is little to no chance of contraband, but there were still significant lines at the scanners returning to the ship. FDR once said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”. There seems to be an ample supply of that.

Roy

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Day 6, Tuesday, May 24, 2011, Samana, Dominican Republic

I changed the order of things a bit by going on the internet first thing but got up for coffee about 5:45. The day was again warm and humid but comfortable for about 2 miles on deck 10. Most of the time until our arrival we were sailing close to land, much of it the Island of Hispanola. Samana is apparently relatively new as a port of call and there isn’t much right in town. The tours offered didn’t look particularly attractive to me, but I ended up regretting not booking one. The town was very close to the tender pier but seemed to have very little to offer.

We were told tender tickets would be available at 8:45, and there was no line to get them. Despite warnings that we should get a ticket and wait in a lounge for our number to be called, I was told to go straight down to the boats. I had also expected to be using the ships’ tenders, but there were a number of local catamarans, loading from 2 points on the ship with additional boats standing by. The 2-mile shuttle was completed and I was on shore about 9:00. The center of town was quite near but I didn’t find much of interest. There was one section of street along the waterfront that was well maintained and had a stretch of nice looking, freshly painted buildings, but the rest of town was quite ramshackle. I walked for probably 2 hours before returning to the ship for lunch (my one time on one of the ship’s tenders and it was more comfortable than most), and then back for a bit longer in a different direction. There were a couple of tours that looked interesting but I just overestimated what would be close by.

The last tender was listed as 5:30 but it actually arrived at that time and we closed up the ship (presumably knowing everyone was on board).

Tonight’s entertainment is “Stage to Screen” by the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers featuring songs from Broadway hits that have made the transition to the silver screen. I am a bit surprised that the troupe does only 2 shows since more would seem like a winner for everyone. The cast is already onboard, the shows are very good, and it seems it would be cheaper than bringing on extra entertainers for several nights.

Today’s parting shot is a bit of a downer. It was clear from my visit to Samana that the area is fighting deep poverty despite having some very beautiful locations nearby. I deeply hope that what appears to be a tourist industry in it’s infancy can give a shot to this area that needs it quite deeply.

Roy

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Day 5, Monday, May 23, 2011, St. Thomas, USVI, Casual

When I arrived on Deck 10 about 5:30 the western tip of St. Thomas was isible in the distance. I walked about 2 miles, but it was strictly 1 lap at a time, pausing at the bow each time to take in a new view. There were clouds on the horizon but still a very nice sunrise through them. We picked up our pilot about 6:30 for our final entrance while deckhands on the bow were setting up a maze of mooring lines. We pulled up to the pier about 7 and were cleared by customs 15 minutes later, docked at the front end of the pier with a Carnival ship behind us.

I had booked a tour, “Volunteering at Virgin Islands National Park” but recieved word Sunday evening that the tour had been cancelled. This is the one port I have previously visited, on the Crystal Symphony in 2002 and the Grande Caribe in 2008. I must say I prefer St. Thomas in December to March rather than late May but that was when I was available to make this trip. I had a leisurely breakfast on the ship and left for a walk about 9:30 spending a little time in Charlotte Amalie and riding the tram to Paradise Point. I was unsuccessful in shopping or finding internet better than what the ship offered. The walk to the center of town is about a mile and a half and runs uncomfortably close to the busy street. The downtown area is very commercial but still quaint and pleasant. For my return I used a shortcut which followed the water and led to a shopping center but it was easy to get out to the street and the tramway. The ride up the tram was about 5 minutes each way and led to a short pathway and spectacular views, but was not quite at the summit (it would have been nice to have views over to St. John). I returned to the ship about 2 for lunch and remained onboard. One of the oddities of life in St. Thomas is that people drive on the left hand side of the road but all the vehicles are left hand drive. I think it’s the only place I’ve seen that system used (I must admit, I don’t remember any 2-way streets in San Juan, so it could be the same).

All aboard today was 4:30 for a 5PM departure. The Carnival Glory behind us was on the same schedule but did not pull up the gangway until a few minutes past 5, apparently due to some no show passengers), and we could not leave until they did. I would not want to be one of those who missed the Glory, their next port is Barbados.

Dinner in Chops was excellent. I had the Petite Fillet Mignon with roast potatoes and green beans, followed up by Passionberry Duo.

The evening show was the action comedy of Rick Novell. Novell was mostly a juggler, working from a freestanding ladder and unicycle and using a lot of humor and audience participation, quite a unique experience.

Today’s parting shot comes from tonight’s show. Seating is at a premium in the Orpheum Theater and saving of seats is quite strongly discouraged/prohibited. I arrived early and was at the end of a row of 5 seats. A lady came in and asked if the seats are saved I said no and the response was “save these for me”. I sure wish I had 20-20 ESP and knew what was coming so I could tell her “yes, they are, you can’t have these”. Go figure.

Roy

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Day 4, Sunday, May 22, 2011, San Juan, PR, Casual

I received a comment today on my blog:

“I’ve always enjoyed following you on the Cunard forum of Cruise Critic and I’m enjoying this blog. I’d be interested in what you think of RCI. The one time we sailed on Royal Caribbean there were so many announcements during the day interrupting anything we were doing that we decided not to take them again until they limited it to the one noon day talk by the Captain. Has that aspect improved?”

I think there are typically about 3 announcements per day,
mid-morning(10:30), noonish (perhaps 15 minutes before or after the Captain’s update), and mid-afternoon. That doesn’t really strike me as excessive but I do find it a minor annoyance that really wouldn’t affect my future booking of RCI. What I do miss more is the lack of an equivalent to the Cunard Insights/Crystal Visions programs, although I’ve been able to compensate for that by catching up on my reading.

While we have a port call in San Juan, PR, today, it is so late (3PM) that it feels much like a sea day. I did only walk 3 miles on deck 10 due to the opportunities for further walking in San Juan. The wind was still quite strong and making my way forward was becoming a bit tedious in the last few laps. I did look at deck 5 but it was roped off in the early morning hours, possibly due to early morning crew drills today.

There was an interdenominational worship service at 9 in the Spotlight lounge, something I hadn’t expected. It was led by a couple of volunteer passengers (this is the 5th cruise where they’ve done it). I get a bit concerned when volunteers handle this kind of event because it can become a forum to promote one’s personal philosophy. The leaders handled their part well but devoted a large part of the service to “sharing”, which included a number of people promoting their personal theology beyond what I thought an interdenominational event suggested.

At his noon update Captain Gus told us we were 40 miles from San Juan. His words of wisdom were “If you speak in anger, it will be the greatest speech you ever regret”. After lunch I spent much of my time making reservations. I frankly don’t see RCI as a major part of my cruising future but there will be times when it will be part of the picture. A group of Maryland cruisers is working on a winter break in January and I stopped by and made a booking. I am not certain that it will happen as I have an Asia cruise in February which will take my passport out of service for some time for visa processing (Vietnam, China) but I think I can work it out. I also have a reservation for Chops Monday evening.

We had been told to be out on deck for a spectacular arrival into San Juan. As it turns out, the weather didn’t cooperate and it was steamy almost to the point of fog and some rain. I retreated to the Viking Crown Lounge and my pictures don’t do the place justice but the arrival was still beautiful. Captain Gus got us here a bit early and we were cleared to go ashore about 15 minutes before our published 3PM arrival.

San is one of the 3 ports on this cruise that is new to me. It’s western discovery was on Columbus’ 2nd voyage in 1493 and for most of it’s history has been Spanish territory. I spent my time exploring old town on foot with it’s narrow streets and quait buildings going as far as the San Felipe El Morrow Castle. This imposing fort guards the San Juan harbor and is matched by a smaller fort on the opposite side of the harbor placing invading vessels in a crossfire. The fort stands high above the harbor and offers excellent views. I also did a bit of shopping before returning to the ship.

The My Fair Lady dining room was quiet tonight as a lot of people were in San Juan but I enjoyed the raspberry and pineapple soup, Vitality turkey and Key lime pie, then a short walk in town.

This evening’s show was Joey Van. He is a singer who does vocal impressions of other artists and the ease with which he moves from the styles of Michael Jackson to Sinatra to Tom Jones and others is amazing and often hilarious.

For today’s parting shot I found myself annoyed at the hot steamy weather here is San Juan. It is almost summer far South of Florida. What was I thinking. We want everything to be perfect but we live in the real world. I am just getting to San Juan for the first time after 60+ years and seeing things I’ve never seen before. A little heat and humidity is a small price to pay.

Roy

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Day 3, Saturday, May 21, 2011, At Sea, Casual

Although I rose again today at 5:30, today’s walk was extended to several small walks. The wind was very brisk this morning and making my way forward on Deck 10 became a tiring chore. I managed only 2 miles before breakfast while taking breaks for Carly’s Morning show, and a little more than a mile after. This morning we had the “Walk for Wishes”, benefitting the Make a Wish Foundation, and that plus a few laps after completed my days walk. I would guess we had probably 200 people doing the walk, including Activities Manager Paul Lancaster and Captain Gus. Total participation including those who purchased shirts but may not have walked was about 300. Captain Gus posed for photos with a number of participants and when I completed my first lap after the organized walk he was still there posing with walkers. Very nice.

I’m continuing to explore the ship. I did take a walk around much of the outer deck on deck 5. In theory, at least, it goes most of the way around the ship (parts of it are now closed for maintenance and the bow is never open), but it may be an alternative when it’s just too windy for deck 10. At his noon update Captain Gus told us we have gone 900 nautical miles from Baltimore at an average of 21 knots and we have another 460 left requiring an average of 19.

The adult belly flop competition was held at 1PM. I saw only a brief view of the contestant introductions and enjoyed the uncrowded time in WJ during the contest.

Dinner was great in the My Fair Lady dining room despite only 3 of us being present. I had the roast beef followed by the pineapple upside down cake.

The internet had not been working in the afternoon. There was a 7:45 session of Majority Rules. I was in the Boleros lounge but trying to catch up on online matters so I “kind of” saw the event but missed the details. There were teams of people who were answering questions like “what is the first thing you would take if you had to abandon ship”. The teams seemed to be greatly enjoying themselves. The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers performed “Cam’t Stop the Rock, a Tribute to Great Movie Music”. The troupe of 4 singers and 7 dancers put on an excellent show. The one sad note on the evening is that the Orpheum Theater is really too small for the size of the ship. People were sitting on the stairs, unable to find seats, 15 minutes before the show. There was a “Love and Marriage” gameshow at 10:30, after my bedtime.

Today’s parting shot is becoming something of a habit, starting last October:

“Today’s parting shot looks back to another, much different, summer trip I made in 2009. I spent a week at the BSA’s Philmont Training Center in Cimarron, NM. I traveled to New Mexico with a contingent of my Troop’s scouts headed out on a trek, camping with them one night, taking day hikes, and sharing some pre-trek events with them at the Philmont base camp. I explored Santa Fe with 6 of these scouts and 2 of their parents. On Sunday evening (1am Monday my time) one of those six will be recognized as an Eagle Scout. While I look forward eagerly to Alexandria, a part of my heart will be back in Maryland. I will miss the ceremony but was fortunate to be part of this outstanding young man’s review panel that confirmed his worthiness for the award. Best wishes, Michael. Congratulations, and well done!

Mr. Ferguson”

I had a similar parting shot in February and now it’s happening again. Of course I’m thrilled about the event but sorry I will be missing it. The young man being recognized tonight was not one of the 6 I joined in Santa Fe but has been an outstanding member of the group. Kevin, Congratulations and Well Done.

Mr. Ferguson
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Day 2, Friday, May 20 2011,, At Sea, Formal

I’m normally an early bird, and woke this morning at a pretty usual 5am. When I went up to the WJ coffee was on and the wind was rather howling, with a 10kt headwind creating an effective force of 30kt. Walking on the Enchantment of the Seas takes place on the “Jogging Track” on Deck 10. It is above most of the structures of the ship, making nice views but it is quite exposed to the weather. The surface is some kind of painted composite except for a short teak section on each side (I found out at the evening reception that this “bridge” covers the section where the ship was lengthened 70 feet in 2005). I much prefer the teak promenade decks on some other ships but got in a pleasant walk anyway, punctuated by a very beautiful sunrise.

After the walk I took a look at the Morning Show with CD Carly Boileau and Activities director Paul, then headed to breakfast.

My room 3542 is an outside cabin on deck 3, a quiet location with cabins directly above and below mine. It is one of the smallest cabins I have used on a large ship, large enough for me but it would be a challenge (especially closet space) for a couple. One thing I did not like when I arrived was that the head of the bed was right against the window making it awkward to see out. I casually asked Friday this morning if it would be possible to convert it to twin beds. No problem. The change was made by the time I got back from breakfast and there are now only 2 small nightstands between me and my window.

There was a 9:00 “First Time Cruisers Ship Talk and Tour”. While I am hardly new to cruising it is my first time on RCI and Enchantment and I got a quick overview of the ship. I thought the Cruise Critic (computer chat group on cruising) Meet and Mingle was this morning, but there was no one there when I went to the location. When I went to inquire at guest services the person had no clue what this RCI sponsored event was, quite disappointing.

At his noon update Captain Gus (Anderson) told us we were 400 Nautical Miles from Baltimore and expecting mostly good seas and weather.

There were not really a lot of afternoon events that interested me and I spent part of the afternoon reading. After trying the pool deck and finding it way too windy to hold a book, the solarium worked a lot better. I think we may have a few Crystal people looking at this thread and I have brought a bit of Crystal with me. I am currently reading “Why Geography Matters” by Harm de Blig. Mr. de Blig was a speaker in their enrichment program on my 2008 Transatlantic Cruise. If I finish that book next is a novel by Kathy Reichs, Forensic Anthropologist, and Novelist and creator of TV’s bones series.

I did find my way up to the WJ for afternoon tea and enjoyed a very nice scone.

This was the first of 2 formal nights on the ship. The Captain’s welcome aboard reception in the Spotlight Lounge was at 5:15 with an introduction of the ship’s officers. Captain Gus noted we have 2376 passengers on board, the largest contingent I have sailed with to date. We generally looked quite good tonight as we enjoyed a pleasant dinner (I had the Duck). The evening entertainment was singer Hal Frazer, doing mostly music from about the 50’s to 70’s.

Today’s parting shot comes from Captain Gus’s words of wisdom at his noon update: “Character is what you do when nobody is watching”.

Roy

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Day 1, May 19, 2011, Embark Enchantment of the Seas.

I’ll start with a bit of personal philosophy here. I’ve been a bit concerned about climate change and the impact we have on it yet I cruise a lot. One way I try to deal with the conflict is that I try to put an extra vehicle on the road just for myself less often. To that end I boarded an express MTA bus this morning for the 20-mile ride to Baltimore and connected with another to the port area. I am now at a local McDonalds hanging out for an hour or so with coffee and free internet. I’ll be walking the remaining 5 blocks or so to the ship in about a half hour.

I dropped off my bags about 10:30. A very helpful porter took hold of my pack directly from my back, much easier than taking it off myself. I walked about a mile to the inner harbor and the Baltimore Symphony Show House on the inner harbor. The BSO has been sponsoring these events. It was a good walk and interesting with some very nice decorating ideas but was quite crowded and turned out not to really be my cup of tea, but still a nice walk.

I returned to Locust Point Cruise Terminal about 12:45. Security and embarkation were a total of about 20 minutes. There has been some discussion of restrictions of things brought on board. With regard to soft drinks I brought a six pack of diet soda with no problem whatsoever. I also like to eat an apple sliced up with a paring knife. Knowing this might be a problem I bought one at a local hardware store that I was willing to lose(less than $1). The security guards said nothing to me but I heard them talking among themselves about a 4-inch blade limit and mine was under 3.

The rooms do not officially open until 2, but when I stopped by the room the key worked and I left my daypack in the closet. I found the ship a bit difficult to navigate at first, with deck diagrams and directions few and far between. I slowly made my way up deck by deck looking for the Windjammer without much idea where I was going. About 1:30 there was an announcement that rooms were open and lunch was served on deck 9. I found the WJ at the very front of the ship.

Muster drill was held at 3:30. Muster stations are outside on deck5 by the boats and we were not required to take our life jackets. As of the muster drill I had not received my checked bag so I spent most of the afternoon exploring the ship while checking on the bag periodically.

After the muster I headed up to deck 10 for sailaway. We dropped lines at 3:50, about 10 minutes ahead of schedule. It was a fairly tight U-turn to get away from the pier, but we sailed past Ft. Mchenry about 4:20 and under the Key Bridge a half hour later. When I returned to my room the bag was there so I unpacked for about 45 minutes. My steward, Friday introduced himself. I left about 5:45 and went on deck for the sail past the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Annapolis, then down to dinner in the My Fair Lady dining room. I have a table for 4 with Connie and Donnie from Bel Air, about a half hour North of Baltimore and Jetty from Glascow, Scotland. Donnie works for his county government and is about 10 years from retirement. Jetty is mostly retired from a furniture business now run by his sons. He speaks with quite a thick brogue. Bento, from Portugal, is our waiter. This is the first time on RCI for all of us. It seemed like quite a compatible group and we finished dinner about 7:50.

The Welcome Aboard Show was at 7:45, one show between dinner seatings. The theater was very crowded and I initially sat on the aisle steps, but after adjusting to the light I ended up in a seat on the first row. There was a short presentation by the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers, an introduction to shipboard activities by Cruise Director Carly Voileau and Activities Manager Paul, and some comedy with Al Katz.

Returning to my room, I confirmed that I had made some technological blunders for this cruise. I have 2 digital cameras but in final packing had been unable to locate 1 camera or the charger for the second. Hoping I had earlier packed the missing components I also took my video camera which can take stills. After fully unpacking, I found that I had nothing unexpected. I usually carry a netbook on most cruises. With a short trip to and from the ship, I took my full sized notebook this time. I plug my camera memory directly into the netbook but must use an adapter for the full size laptop and it doesn’t support the large memory cards I am currently using. Fortunately I was able to connect the USB cable from my scanner to the video camera and download my pictures that way (I have now placed smaller memory chips in the camera for future use) but the process was slow. When that was over I was ready for bed.

I normally close each day’s post with a “Parting Shot”. It could be anything, related or not to the cruise, the events of the day on or off the ship or most anything else. For today’s parting shot, I have long wanted to do a cruise from my home port of Baltimore. Fort McHenry is pretty low to the ground and not a spectacular sight like the Statue of Liberty but it has such an important place in our history that it was still a great thrill to sail past it.

Roy

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